Botanist's Glossary

Sage - Salvia officinalis

  • Description
    • Common sage (Lamiaceae family) is a highly aromatic subshrub with grayish leaves, which feel rough to the touch, and pale blue to purplish flower spikes. The sage found in the old gardens of Southern France, which survived for a long time alongside ruins, is related to Iberian species from the officinalis group. The wide-leaf varieties that are most widespread today tend to originate from the Balkans.
  • Traditions
    • The word Salvia is derived from the Latin salvare - to save. This Medieval panacea was known by the ancients and used to treat wounds and venomous bites. It was celebrated by the ancient medical School of Salerno: "How can a man die when sage grows in his garden?" It is a renowned "women's plant", believed to ease the pain of childbirth. In the South of France, sage is a traditional herb, while sage tea is often drunk to aid digestion.
  • Properties
    • The leaves and flowers are steam distilled. The essential oil obtained is rich in phenolic acids, giving it antiseptic properties. It is used in anti-aging creams for its softening, protective and anti-free radical properties. The essential oil also has a deodorizing action.